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Wireless Reviews

Lyra Trio AC1750 Dual Band Mesh WiFi System
At a glance
ProductASUS Lyra Trio AC1750 Dual Band Mesh WiFi System (MAP-AC1750)   [Website]
SummaryThree stream two radio Qualcomm-based mesh Wi-Fi system
Pros• Three stream design
• Admin via web and/or app
• Supports AP mode & Ethernet backhaul
Cons• Meh performance
• Not AiMesh compatible

Typical Price: $255  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Linksys' Dual-band Velop isn't the only Wi-Fi mesh system announced at CES 2018 that has interrupted our summer new Wi-Fi product doldrums. ASUS also recently started pumping out its Lyra Trio, which is the focus of this review. (Waiting in the wings are new mesh offerings from D-Link (a new three-node Covr) and TP-Link (the just-announced Deco M9 Plus) that I'll be getting to in the coming weeks.)

Despite putting most of its mesh Wi-Fi system focus on AiMesh, ASUS still wants to have a "pre-packaged" mesh solution for folks who just want to buy it, plug it and use it. AiMesh is more for Wi-Fi tweakers, since the system is still suffering growing pains and typically involves firmware upgrades. (You'd be surprised how daunting a task this is for the average router user.)

ASUS will continue to sell the original three-radio Lyra (MAP-AC2200), which had pretty disappointing performance when I reviewed it with its original firmware. When ASUS came out with firmware that was supposed to significantly improve performance, I loaded it up and started testing. But when I saw little improvement in backhaul throughput, I knew I wasn't going to see much performance improvement and stopped the retest.

The Lyra Trio is a reimagined Lyra, trying a two radio design vs. the original Lyra's three 2x2 11ac radios. But Trio's twist is that its radios use three-streams, yielding maximum link rates of 450 Mbps in 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps in 5 GHz, hence its AC1750 classing. (Only Ubiquiti's Amplifi HD mesh system also uses a three-stream design.)

Trio reaches back a few years for its physical and antenna system design. I knew I'd seen the hollowed-out pyramid design before and a quick trip to our search box unearthed the EA-N66 that was reviewed in 2012.

ASUS EA-N66 (top) and Lyra Trio (bottom)

ASUS EA-N66 (top) and Lyra Trio (bottom)

Both designs stash the three dual-band antennas in the pyramid legs as shown in the cutaway view below.

Lyra Trio antenna location

Lyra Trio antenna location

Each Trio node in the three-pack is the same and sports two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one of which connects to your broadband modem to create the root node.

Linksys Velop connector callout

ASUS Lyra Trio connector callout

Lyra Trio communicates status via LEDs at the base of each pyramid leg. The LED decoder table below from the reviewer's guide is more complete than the one in the quick start guide shown below the table.

Linksys Velop LED callout

ASUS Lyra Trio LED callout

Inside

The Trio's FCC documents are under wraps for awhile. So after testing was done, I opened up one of them for a look. The design is a departure from the usual Qualcomm IPQ4018/4019 mesh design. Instead we find something you'd be more likely to find in an inexpensive 802.11ac access point.

ASUS Lyra Trio inside

ASUS Lyra Trio inside

The photo below shows the same view as above with RF can top removed. A Qualcomm QCA9563 3x3 b/g/n SoC (photo center right) serves as the main processor and three-stream 2.4 GHz radio, while a QCA9980 a/b/g/n/ac 4x4 SoC (only three RF chains are used) handles 5 GHz duties (photo left). RAM and flash are sized to save money at 128 MB and 32 MB, respectively.

ASUS Lyra Trio board bottom

ASUS Lyra Trio board bottom

The photo also shows an Atheros AR3012 Bluetooth 4.0 radio tucked into the right corner of the RF can and QCA8334 gigabit Ethernet switch down near the two Ethernet connectors. The little RF can at the top holds one each of the 2.4 and 5 GHz Skyworks front end modules.

The next photo is the top of the board with its heatsink in place.

ASUS Lyra Trio  board top

ASUS Lyra Trio board top

Once you remove the heatsink and RF can top, you see the flash chip and front end modules for the other two RF chains for each band.

ASUS Lyra Trio  board top

ASUS Lyra Trio board top

The original Lyra board is shown below for comparison. As noted above, it's more of a typical Qualcomm-based mesh design.

ASUS Lyra board

ASUS Lyra board

The table below summarizes the Trio and original Lyra's key components.

  ASUS Lyra Trio ASUS Lyra
CPU QCA9563 3x3 b/g/n SoC
Qualcomm IPQ4019 quad-core Wave2 2x2 a/b/g/n/ac SoC
Switch QCA8334 QCA8072
RAM 128 MB 256 MB
Flash 32 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - In QCA9563
- Skyworks SKY85330-11 2.4 GHz Front end (x3)
- In IPQ4019
- Skyworks SKY2623L 2.4 GHz power amp (x2)
5 GHz Radio - QCA9980 4x4 a/b/g/n/ac radio SoC
- Skyworks SKY85746-11 5 GHz front end (x3)
- In IPQ4019
- RFMD RFPA5542 5 GHz power amp (x2)
5 GHz Radio #2 N/A - QCA9886 2x2 802.11ac radio SoC
- RFMD RFPA5542 5 GHz power amp (x2)
Bluetooth - Atheros AR3012 Bluetooth 4.0
- Atheros AR3012 Bluetooth 4.0
- ISSC IS1678 Bluetooth Dual-Mode SoC
Table 1: Component summary and comparison

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